I am writing from our annual Pastor’s Conference in the Amazon. We have 110 village pastors and their wives here at the John Pac Center where the conference will be held. So many of these pastors were traveling by canoe for days to be here with us. Their stories are amazing, and their lives even more so. They deeply love Jesus, and they are passionate about His call to share His love with those in their villages and communities. They work tirelessly and battle in prayer for those they love. And, God is using them to bring the Good News of Christ to this dark region in the world.
As Mike Minter, Pastor of Reston Bible Church in Washington D.C., says, “We come to teach them the Bible, and they teach us about Jesus.” Their passion for Christ is contagious. I am always inspired and encouraged in my time with these men who are on the front lines of ministry. They are the leaders of their churches and villages, which can range anywhere from hundreds of people to thousands. They are the ones who stand in the gap for the people by preaching God’s Word, helping provide education for children and taking care of the sick. The pastors and their wives are Christ incarnate in this region.
This week will be filled with teaching, worship, and fellowship. Justice & Mercy International pays for most of the cost–the pastors make very little money and they do pay a very small fee to come, but then JMA (Justice & Mercy Amazon) covers the rest, which is a huge portion of it. We do everything to make sure this will be a week where the attendees feel renewed, encouraged and appreciated. This is their only “vacation,” and we want them to feel special. We provide all the meals, supplies, and send them home with materials for the adults and children in their churches & villages.
God has blessed us with a wonderful team from the States to teach, minister and love:
- Mike Minter, Senior Pastor of Reston Bible Church, and I teach the men.
- Kelly Minter and Angela Thomas (both Kelly and Angela are Bible Study teachers and authors) teach the women.
- Leo Ahlstrom, Rolling Hills Community Church Worship Pastor, and a team from a church in Manaus, Brazil lead the Worship times.
- Breakout sessions dealing with specific topics are led by:
- David Shedd, Recently retired head of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
- Jim Rabelhofer, Lead Pastor of Business Operations at RHCC
- Mike Myers, Family & Children’s Pastor at Reston Bible Church
- Harold & Regina Pinto, grew up in Brazil and are both inspiring spiritual leaders
- Heather Crane, Leading women studies on the PGA and at the Next Door
- Mary Katharine Hunt, Executive Director of JMI, Francie Leslie, JMA Board President, and Kari Bidwell, Logistics coordinator for JMI, make it all happen.
- And, Sarah Rodrigues, National Director for Justice & Mercy Amazon works with the pastors throughout the year bringing mission teams, food bags and support to their work.
This is truly a team effort. It takes all of us here, and all of you back at home! Thank you to so many of you who sponsor pastors through JMI. As a sponsor myself and seeing how $40 a month is being used here, I can tell you that your contribution is making a huge difference! Also, thank you to those of you who tithe at Rolling Hills Community Church and Reston Bible Church – a percentage of what you give goes to help make this happen. And, last but not least, thank you to all of those who pray. Prayer is powerful! We are seeing God transform lives for Christ here in the Amazon through your prayers. We are all a part of something very special.
I ask that you continue praying for our team and all the pastors attending the conference this week.
Together, we are seeing God change the world!